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Vol State Student awarded full scholarship at Rensselaer Polytechnic

Last updated on April 14, 2019

Volunteer State Community College student Zachary Houtman has been accepted into Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute School of Engineering (RPI) with a full scholarship to major in aerospace engineering.

Founded in 1824, RPI is one of the oldest schools in the country.

It is located in Troy, New York, 150 miles north of New York City.


The Adirondack and Catskill Mountains are nearby, as are Lakes George and Champlain.

The RPI Mechanical, Aerospace, Nuclear Engineering (MANE) program ranks sixth in the nation, with eight engineering majors ranking in the top 10.

The aerospace engineering program takes third place in rank.

US News and World Report rank the aeronautical engineering 23rd.

Houtman will be pursuing a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering.

The MANE program has 1,331 undergraduate students and 215 graduate students.

RPI’s website says aeronautical engineering is concerned with disciplines and technologies relevant to all varieties of fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircrafts, space vehicles and other vehicles and systems operating in an aerodynamic or hydrodynamic environment.

“I would be working on the engines and rocket or plane, or anything like that. It’s a fairly broad field. More or less anything that flies, I work on,” said Houtman.

According to, “MANE is an unparalleled intellectual powerhouse that is uniquely positioned to solve some of the most challenging problems of our times and lead the nation and the world in groundbreaking research, innovative education and service of the highest quality to all its stakeholders.”

Houtman attended Portland High School and is a part of the Sumner County Middle College High School (MCHS) at VSCC.
MCHS at VSCC is a collaboration between Sumner County Schools and Volunteer State Community College.

It gives students the opportunity to receive a high school diploma while earning credits toward a college degree.

“After sophomore year I transferred from Portland High School to Middle College, where I am currently a senior,” said Houtman.

At Vol State, Houtman is involved in the Service Learning Club, Phi Theta Kappa and SPECTRUM.

“I have enough credit hours to where after this semester I’m actually going to graduate with an associate’s degree, which I am technically getting before my high school diploma,” said Houtman.

Vol State’s graduation is Saturday, May 4.

Houtman will graduate with an Associate of Science in General Studies degree.

Graduation for Middle College High School is Saturday, May 18.

Houtman was awarded full ride to RPI with a Merit and Leadership scholarship.

Cost of tuition at RPI is $52,550.

“That scholarship took a lot of hard work for him to receive, and that was a great accomplishment. He has spent countless hours studying and vigorously working to earn his scholarship. I could not be more proud of him,” said student Caitlin Lapointe.

“My dream organization to work at would be at SpaceEx or NASA, something like that on the forefront of science,” said Houtman.

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